The Wrong Mother – Charlotte Duckworth

Published By: Quercus
Pages: 400
Released On: 16/03/2023

Faye is 39 and single. She’s terrified she may never have the one thing she always wanted: a child of her own.

Then she discovers a co-parenting app: Acorns. For men and women who want to have a baby, but don’t want to do it alone. When she meets Louis through it, it feels as though the fates have aligned.

But just one year later, Faye is on the run from Louis, with baby Jake in tow. In desperate need of a new place to live, she contacts Rachel, who’s renting out a room in her remote Norfolk cottage. It’s all Faye can afford – and surely she’ll be safe from Louis there?

But is Rachel the benevolent landlady she pretends to be? Or does she have a secret of her own?


Thanks to NetGalley and Quercus for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

This was my first Charlotte Duckworth book. I can’t believe I’ve not read any others. She’s marvellous. I’ll definitely be looking out for her others.

This had me hooked from the very start. I can’t fully explain it. The writing was so deliciously smooth that you’re completely lost within the pages.

You’re never sure whose side you should be on, who you should trust and who you should believe, and those you should be wary of. It’s very cleverly done. It just hints at enough to make you feel a bit uncomfortable, it just gives you enough for you to try and solve.

It’s a slow burning thriller, which was nice. It drip feeds you things, offers red herrings and twists, and then by that point, you’re too invested and you start questioning everything and that’s where the thrill comes in. If you’re like me, you’re not sure what’s going to come next, and that’s exciting,

It’s so well crafted. The twists and the turns, the dual timeline, the dual narrative, it keeps you so hooked and you wont want to put it down.

I am usually one who prefers character development over plot, and whilst there is very good character development, the plot is definitely the star here. It just leaps of the page.

It’s a quick read, I read it in just two sittings. I don’t mean it in a negative sense. Everything is so smooth that you really get lost in it. It’s not complicated. Every word is needed, there’s no fussiness or frill, it’s straight to the point, which means you’re not distracted by anything surplus to the plot. It makes it such a pleasant book to read.

It’s a book of two characters for me. Yes there are others, such as Louis and Jake and Brian, but I wasn’t so fussed about them. For me, it’s all about the interactions between Faye and Rachel. There’s clearly more than meets the eye between them. Rachel in particular is a fascinating character. An older lady, volunteers for the girl guides, helps with the village’s bonfire night arrangements, unassuming, likes taking care of people. But there’s a darkness within that’s fascinating to uncover. Faye is instantly likeable. You feel for her, you want to step in and help her, protect her, even if her actions aren’t completely moral.

I won’t spoilt it, obviously, but the ending! I did not expect it, and yet it was the perfect ending. You have your own thoughts as to what will happen, and yet once you’ve finished it, you think there wasn’t actually any other way it could have finished. It’s satisfying on every level.

I’d say it’s an ideal read for passionate thriller lovers and those new to the genre. It will satisfy thriller obsessive as it has a unique concept and brilliant tension, but it’s not a rushing, busy complicated thriller (and I mean that in the best of ways). It’s a great introduction to the genre that will leave everyone happy.

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